September 4, 2015

THREE POEMS BY MARCUS CLAYTON: "A BLUE PICASSO", FLEAS ON SCISSORS", "GHOST"


"Marcus grew up in South Gate, CA, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from CSU Long Beach. He coordinates poetry-reading events in Long Beach, is an editor for American Mustard, and a poetry reader for The Offing. Some of his published work can be seen in Tahoma Literary Review, San Pedro River Review, RipRap Journal, Mason’s Road, Bird’s Thumb, and Canyon Voices Literary Magazine among others."

(http://americanmustard.weebly.com/
 https://twitter.com/marcussomething





A Blue Picasso


I.


My fretting hands coiled
 by her bejeweled fingers
soft fresh bristles,
      led me
to the theatre  
where she would dance.
A plague upon my lungs in remission.
This, the first outing
   since     chemo.


She prepares the performance
retrieves a guitar—
  my guitar.
My scar-less, golden toy.
    She says
I mirrored The Old Guitarist:
Pale, withered figure
grasping the neck
    gently,
longing for a steadied grip,
head turned away
from the sun-tinted box,
melancholy that notes sang
with aural splendor
yet have deaf ears themselves.


I play.
      Vibrations spill out
    a warm summer
     wind that wraps
around two lovers
who romp in an open jade
field, the tone crisp
 sways past
seats, reverb bounces off
genial audience chests.


A crescendo splashes
she takes the stage
under rose colored lights,
glides across her canvas,
to and fro, painting
her steps in wholesome melody
with invisible wings,
on a naked cloud,
synchronized with my browned strings,
    her movements
hid rust with grace
that turns an angel green.


I could never
forget she once trumped
strings,        nicotine,
her plague
upon my heart
not in remission.


II.


Music stops,
I turn away from her
sun-tinted smile,
melancholy the applause
for our tandem recital
did not baptize us, did not to scribe
our music
in permanent ink.
   
    When her husband
laced his fingers—fearless and thick
as leather—around hers,
and the seats emptied,
and the theatre doors locked,


I tore out the superfluous strings
had only cigarettes for dinner;
my guitar tinder,
my fretting hand an ashtray.



Fleas on Scissors



Someone cut dreads
that hung down his scalp
rotted bark where a drizzle of fleas
littered threadbare shirt
tattooed in dandruff.


Someone placed a halo
of soap on the loosed hairs
of his scalp when he always
        looked down
only screamed
    with bladed curses
    that scattershot eardrums
    of passersby
—never meant it.


Someone decided to not scream
when he walked
by with crusted hair dragging
along broken pavement,
the sun carving cancer
into Latino skin made darker
        by the putrid dust
        of wandering.


Someone held scissors
and ears that caught his curses,
       approached him not
    like a burning torch,
but a tranquil tunneled light.


Someone must have cut their hands
catching his expletives before they burst
    like glass on the ground
    bending down to always
        meet his gaze.


Now, even frightened fingers
are not afraid to run
    through his hair—deloused and free
    of grime—not afraid of the bullets
from his Tourette tasted tongue. Not afraid
of dead fleas on scissors.



Ghost


Snowfall drained the hazel
from your eyes
the way it veiled your dress, white
as the flakes that numbed
my face and camouflaged moss
under the tree I held
to balance. The touch
of bark slashed my palms,
but I did not feel the sting
until I reached for your hand—
only gripping glacial wind
that cut through my fingers,
into my chest. Then I saw
the road ahead, carpeted in white,
untouched by soles, then I heard
a leaf loosen its grip,
snapped from a branch—
it floated like a pendulum
blanketed in white,
then more white, then nothing.

~Marcus Clayton

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